Scrutiny examines progress of mental health services
22nd April 2022
The Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel has published its report for its follow-up review of Jersey's mental health services.
One of the key purposes of the review was to examine what progress had been made in implementing the recommendations of the Panel's 2019 'Assessment of Mental Health Services'. It found that, due to changing priorities as a result of the pandemic, progress in implementing the original recommendations has been limited. However, the Panel found that work has been done to address previous areas of concern as a direct consequence of its recommendations in 2019. Such work includes improvements to the mental health estate and the assignment of official responsibility for mental health services to a designated person.
When examining how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted mental health services, the Panel found that whilst it has helped to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing amongst the general population, it has impacted waiting times for appointments, delayed the replacement Mental Health Strategy, and has led to a lack of focus on those with serious mental illness. However, the Panel is pleased that, as of January 2022, a new Executive Director is in post for Adult Mental Health Services, which has invigorated the aim to review the strategy and future direction of mental health services.
Whilst the Panel is concerned about the delays to some projects, it recognises that several factors, such as recruitment issues, are beyond the remit of mental health services alone. The review has highlighted that there is a need for joined-up systems for mental health services and communication between Government departments and services, as well as the private and charitable sectors, if some of these wider issues are to be tackled.
The 27 recommendations outlined in the report seek to reflect the importance of governance, transparency, and clear lines of accountability to help the patients in need of these services.
Chair of the Health and Social Security Panel, Deputy Mary Le Hegarat, said "The Panel is pleased that Scrutiny's work over the course of this electoral term has helped to bring attention to the importance of mental health services in Jersey. Specifically, our follow-up review has given us the opportunity to reflect on what progress has been made against the recommendations outlined in our 2019 review of such services.
"We acknowledge that mental health services have faced significant challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is evident that such challenges have led to a delay in progressing our recommendations. However, this review has also drawn attention to the way in which long-standing issues, such as the recruitment and retention of skilled staff and the high cost of living in Jersey, need to be addressed through a joined-up approach across Government departments."
See the full report.
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